Why GDL?


Graduated Driver Licensing is a proven method of reducing teen drivers’ crash risk by 20-40 percent, and GDL works by maximizing experience while minimizing common risks teens face on the roads such as nighttime driving and carrying teen passengers. This allows new drivers to gain experience without exposure to high-risk scenarios.


All 50 states and D.C. have implemented some form of GDL. Typically, GDL has three stages:


1.     Learner’s permit - teen drivers only can drive with supervision

2.     Intermediate licensure - teens may drive unsupervised but with restrictions such as passenger and nighttime driving

3.     Full, unrestricted licensure

The seven recommended GDL elements are based on decades of scientific research. 



Recommended Element

Maryland Element

1.       At least 16 years old to receive learner’s permit

At least 15 years and 9 months old to receive learner’s permit

2.       Six month holding period before receiving intermediate license to drive unsupervised

Nine month holding period before receiving intermediate license to drive unsupervised

3.       30-50 hours of supervised driving during learner’s permit stage

60 hours – 10 at night – during learner’s permit stage

4.       At least 16 years and 6 months old before receiving intermediate license



5.       No driving unsupervised between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

No driving unsupervised between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday-Thursday; no driving unsupervised from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday

6.       No more than one teen passenger during the intermediate licensure

No more than one passenger younger than 20 during first 12 months of intermediate licensure

7.       At least 18 before receiving an unrestricted, full license

Passenger restriction lifted at 17; nighttime restriction lifted at 18


Additionally safety belts always should be worn, states should completely ban the use of cell phones while driving and should have a zero-tolerance policy for drug or alcohol use.


GDL laws vary from state to state. Find each state’s laws and visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on the Maryland GDL laws.


Read common GDL misconceptions and The Allstate Foundation's Case for Stronger Teen Driving Laws.